Hedging in Political Discourse

Ghaleb Rabab’ah, Ronza Abu Rumman

Hedging in Political Discourse

Číslo: 1/2015
Periodikum: Prague Journal of English Studies

Klíčová slova: Hedges; political discourse; political speech; pragmatic functions; politeness

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Anotace: This paper reports on the findings of a study that aimed to identify the linguistic items

which act as hedges in the speeches of King Abdullah II of Jordan, as well as to examine
the pragmatic functions of these devices. Twenty-five political speeches of King Abdullah
II, randomly selected from the official website of King Abdullah (see Appendix), were
analyzed adopting Salager-Meyer’s (1994) taxonomy. The study revealed that the
most frequently used hedging device in King Abdullah’s speech is modal auxiliaries,
and the most frequently used hedging device subcategory is the modal auxiliary “can”.
The findings suggest that these hedging devices fulfil several pragmatic functions. These
findings contribute to understanding that speaking a second language (Arabic, in the
case of King Abdullah II) neither affects the types of hedging devices nor the functions
these devices perform. Moreover, contrary to scientific discourse (e.g., medicine), the
research concludes that political discourse as a non-scientific genre resorts to hedging
devices to express indirectness, politeness, lack of commitment and probability.